Reviewed by Physician Brandon Yew and Dr Angelica L Dumapit on December 16, 2022
Debunking Old Wives Tales: Which Are True About Winter Illnesses?
Published | 7 min read
Have you ever wondered if there is any truth behind common old wives tales? Our TCM physician weighs in on some alternative ways to protect against winter illnesses here.
Old wives tales are passed down from generation to generation, much like family recipes. You may remember being told as a kid that you’ll get sick if you go outside with wet hair. Or that grandma’s chicken noodle soup can cure the flu.
But is there any truth to these remedies? Modern research has shown that there is no scientific evidence to back up many of these claims. However, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), old wives tales contain ancient wisdom that you shouldn’t ignore.
Here’s why some of those old wives tales about getting sick may still hold true today and how to use ancient remedies to help stay healthy this winter.
Are Old Wives Tales True?
Some old wives tales are true and some are not. For example, there is probably no proof that grandma’s chicken noodle soup can cure your flu symptoms. But when it comes to staying warm in the winter, you may want to follow this
According to Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew, “There is truth in this old wives tale about staying healthy and warm in winter. In fact, this is a legitimate concept recorded and highlighted in the
Which old wives tales are true about staying healthy in winter?
As Physician Yew explains, “In order to mitigate or even prevent such affliction, we must preserve and nurture our yin during the colder seasons of autumn and winter. Yin refers to our bodily fluids and cooling energy. If our yin is properly preserved and nurtured during the colder seasons, the pressured
Essentially, a delicate balance between keeping warm and cool during winter is required to ensure we stay healthy over the harsh cold winter. As every one of us has our unique individual body constitution, which is characterized by specific imbalances, the delicacy of that balance differs from one person to another.
TCM Ways To Support Immune Health
For protection against respiratory illnesses, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and strep throat, use these:
- Yin Qiao
- Sang Ju Yin
ing Fei Pai Du Tang
- Sang Bai Pi Tang
- Fang Feng Tong Sheng San
To protect against the stomach flu,
- Ge Gen Qin Lian Tang
- Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San
- Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan
To prevent and recover from winter illnesses:
- Sheng Mai San: Replenishes qi and yin energies of the Lungs and Heart
- Yu Ping Feng San: Replenishes qi of the Lungs and Spleen; dispels exogenic Wind
- Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang: Regenerates Spleen qi; dispels Dampness and Phlegm
Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang: Dispels residual Fire and Dampness; replenishes yin Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan: Replenishes yin of the Liver and Kidneys; dispels Fireand Dampness
Edible bird’s nest is another popular TCM remedy that can help fight respiratory illnesses, thanks to its anti-viral properties. The medicinal mushroom Cordyceps is also widely used to reduce inflammation and support respiratory
For targeted relief against flu symptoms, such as a sore throat, cough, body aches, and fever, consider taking an herbal flu relief drink.
Acupressure is an easy self-help remedy you can do by placing fingers or a massage stick at certain acupoints. Apply an appropriate amount of pressure to elicit a tolerable sensation of soreness or tenderness, in order for it to be effective. At the same time, massage in both clockwise and anticlockwise circular motion 20 times each. Repeat for at least 3 minutes per acupoint.
Here are some
- Acupoints that
relieverespiratory symptoms, such as fever, headache, fatigue, chills, and muscle aches: Tian Tu (RN22), Bai Hui (DU20), Yu Ji (LU10), Qu Chi (LI11), Yang Ling Quan (GB34), Tai Chong (LR3), Tai Yang (EX-HN5), and Dan Zhong (RN17) Acupoints that Acupoints thatrelieve fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, and respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms: He Gu (LI4), Nei Guan (PC6), Yin Ling Quan (SP9), Zu San Li (ST36), Shang Ju Xu (ST37) Feng Long (ST40), and Wai Guan (SJ5)
- John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Old Wives Tales.
- UC Davis Health. 2020. The truth behind 7 popular old wives’ tales about being sick.
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